Bitcoin. Crypto. The blockchain. Words that suddenly became very popular and very profitable for investors as 2017 rolled into 2018. While Wall St. scrambled to find its position, TD Ameritrade was poised to solidify itself as the innovative leader in financial services—with an approach to the blockchain that had never been done before.
TD Ameritrade couldn’t simply claim deep knowledge of the blockchain to promote the new Bitcoin Futures product, we had to show it. To do that we hacked the unhackable, turning the world’s most secure digital ledger into a media channel, placing an ad on the blockchain where it will live forever. By linking together 68 individual Bitcoin transactions within a function of the blockchain called OP_RETURN - a space similar to the memo space on a check - we were able to use create a text-based ASCII image in the shape of the literal first flag planted in the blockchain. We surprised the cryptocurrency community and re-established ourselves as category innovators, and all for a meager ad cost of $23.15.
We placed an ad where we thought only the most enthusiastic about Bitcoin and Crypto would it it. Instead, it created a buzz beyond the cryptocurrency community.